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Well I've officially failed at this Christmas Letter/Card thing....consider the card you received to be a Merry (belated) Christmas, Happy New Year and an early Happy Valentine's Day! Those cards have been sitting on our mantel since before Christmas!

Ok here goes, in Grandma Shirley fashion...I'll attempt a little Christmas Letter / 2018 Martinez Family update.

In January, Alessandra started a ballet / tap dance class and loved it. We enjoyed watching her follow directions and make friends without our help, considering she wasn't even 2 years old...it was pretty amazing watching those skills develop. Juan's mom, Cecile retired at the end of January and we couldn't have been happier for her and the next chapter. We've definitely been able to see a lot more of her (and stress free) since then and we all love it. Juan's dad, Milton retired in December as well; so 2018 was full of a lot more Abuelita and Abuelito time for the kiddos. Juan got to go to Cabo in early January for his best friend Howie's wedding (sadly we had to cancel my flight since I was pregnant and the doctor advised I stay out of Mexico). Juan also went to Las Vegas for a B&C and Kodak collaboration meet up. We also managed to sneak in a mama / papa staycation...getting it in while we can before we become a family of cinco!

February was pretty quiet, we tried to spend more time at home soaking up our girls and each other. We did a lot of yard work, home organization and room prepping. I just absolutely love working in the yard and my big old belly never stops this mama! 

In March, my mom aka Grandma Bonnie came out to visit and I had those most magical Blessingway in our backyard with family and friends (thank you again to all of you who made it so special). 

April was a busy one! We had the best Easter! We had so much fun watching Gisele and Alessandra share in the Easter excitement together, finding their baskets, running around the backyard, empty Easter egg fights and family time. Alessandra cracked us up sneaking away with her bucket of candy, quietly eating as much as she could. We also celebrated Easter up in San Clemente with Tatich and Elizabeth. We hunted for eggs on the beach and the Easter Bunny made an appearance, only he was much shorter than we remembered and Gisele disappeared for a while... 

Alessandra turned two, April 15th and we had the simplest party in some grass under a tree with music and some of Alessa's favorite activities and people. It was perfect. My sister aka Tia Beth was down in So Cal for a track meet so we got to spend a wonderful weekend with her. Gisele went on her first field trip (to museums at Balboa Park) at her new school and was beyond stoked to tell us about it and wanted to do our own family version.

May was when we were blessed with our baby boy! Sebastián decided to make his debut on his due date, May 3rd! Which also happens to be his Bisabuela (great grandma) Rosa's birthday. Grandma Bonnie came to meet her grandson. We celebrated 4 years of marital bliss and attended the wedding of our good friend's Linda and Kurt (our first big outing as a family of 5).

In June Alessandra performed in her first dance recital with her bestie Porter. Gisele kicked off her summer. Papa turned 37.

July meant the long anticipated Rowland Family Reunion (which yours truly planned) up in San Clemente. It was a huge success. We loved the little getaway and quality time with the family. Parking, Tye Dying, Beaching and so much more. Highlight of the reunion was watching Grandma Shirley and Grandpa Chuck sit in their chairs under the shade of a big tree watching their kids, grandkids and great grandkids play. Truly magical! It brought tears to my eyes...the two of them created the scene before them. I can only hope Juan and I can share moments like that in our older age. 

Gisele turned 9 on July 19th! Eek cannot believe she's approaching 10. We had the sweetest backyard gathering with family. Baby girl has been all about jumping on her trampoline, there was a lot of jumping, a million Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and adorable cookies. I just love the way she lights up when she's in the family spotlight. The super big sister is so good at sharing the light with her 4 siblings...I love when she gets time just for her. 

In August we took our first trip (flying) up to Oregon as a family of five and Sebastián took his first flight to visit my parents aka Grandma and Grandpa Drake. We had too much fun playing on their property, up the mountain at uncle Kevin’s summer job (ski bowl...complete with horse back riding), visiting their new home in Redmond and soaking up some quality time together. Oh we potty trained Alessa and it went so well! Fun watching her learn a life skill like that. Oh and I turned 33.

In September Alessandra started school...an adorable little French school for ages 2-5. She took off, following directions, making friends and learning a ton. It has been amazing watching her grow and learn. Gisele started 4th grade...her school is K-4th so she’s the big kid on campus and stoked about it.

In October we fit in another little family trip up to Ojai along with my dad aka Tatich, Elizabeth and Dali. It was short but sweet exploring the cute little town. Juan and I got to have a date night going to my good friend Rejina’s wedding. 

Thankful November included some San Clemente trips, Santa Ana trip to visit our friends David and Erik, a visit from Alessa and I’s girlfriends Danielle and Evelyn. Thanksgiving was a little different this year instead of the usual desert outing Elizabeth’s family hosted our fam and the Palmers. It was fun getting to know her family and switch things up.

In December we actually managed to throw together a pretty awesome Christmas Party for our Beers and Cameras holiday party. We got to have a little mini vacation with our friends the Myers in Palm Desert, were able to cruise by the Palmers and visit the Desert Zoo which was totally awesome. We ended the month with a wonderful week off at home as a family relaxing (as much as you can with little ones). Highlight of the week for me was watching Gisele and Alessandra’s relationship grow. Alessandra is getting older and the two of them are able to play more and wowie does she look up to Gisele. It is the sweetest ♥️ OH and Christmas was sweet and simple at home (even included an impromptu Christmas dinner with our bff neighbors, the Nielsen Family). Alessandra is at the age where she absolutely LOVES the holidays (Halloween and Christmas and all they entail were magical to her…she definitely has that holiday spirit).

2018 was a great year, the year of our boy’s birth, lots of quality family time and sister bonding. Juan and I are both excited for the year ahead. Sending so much love to you all. We hope 2019 is off to a good start. 

Lots of love! Juan, Raquel, Gisele, Alessandra & Sebastián.